How to Politely Blow Your Nose

By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor

Hello and Happy Thursday!

“Wait, Maralee,” you say with a reassuring voice because you know I’m confused. Plus, you’re kind. Instead of being angry that I’ve just called today Thursday, you’re worried about my current mental state.

“Today is Monday, not Thursday. You remember! Don’t you? Your posts are called ‘Monday Manners with Maralee,’ and this is your post, so today is definitely Monday.”

Well, not to worry.

I’m fine!

Today is a dress rehearsal for a new feature of the Manners Mentor blog that will happen for you every Thursday starting this week: Q&A Thursday!

Allow me to share it with you!

Why Q&A Thursday?

I wanted more time with you, and this will give us quality time. Even though the question I answer might be someone else’s, I’ve found that if one person has a question, half or more of the other people who read it think, “I’ve wondered about that, too.” Especially us, because members of the Manners Mentor family have a lot in common.

We care about how we treat others, and while we would never allow ourselves to be a doormat for the sake of appearances (Yeah us!), we always start out on the high road. That’s why we lay down the Welcome mat for everyone, and we keep it out unless the other person crosses polite guidelines and boundaries.

I’m getting questions emailed to me from lots of you! I’d love to answer each of them. However, if I did, my children would soon be naked and hungry (naked because there would be no clean clothes in the house, and hungry because I wouldn’t have time to go to the grocery store, let alone cook). I receive so many questions that answering them could be my full time job. I really would love to answer them individually, but there are not enough hours in the day. 

Also, I have questions (about 1000 or so) saved from my five-and-a-half years on radio and from this fun thing I do when speaking at churches or corporations. Note cards are available for people to anonymously write down their most pressing question. When you give some people the chance to ask a question anonymously, they’ll ask the most surprising things!

These Will Be Short

Because I’m answering one question and not teaching a whole topic, our Q&A Thursday posts will be brief like the one below. When it arrives, take a moment to open and read it then. It will be faster than searching through your email later and re-opening it in order to read the question. Plus, you’ll immediately be armed with new gracious knowledge for common things that could occur at  any moment. You’ll be able to handle them with graciousness, sincerity, and confidence!

Our First Question: How to Politely Blow Your Nose?!

This question was on a note card, which means it came from one of my live speaking events.

Q. Do I really need to leave the sanctuary, theater, or a meeting I’m attending to blow my nose? Or is leaving and returning more of an interruption? This happens to me a lot, so thank you in advance for your answer.



You ask a great question. It’s great because this is something that happens to everyone, and it shows you care about the comfort of those around you. Regarding whether to leave or stay, nose blowing is a sound that most people are put off by. Try just wiping your nose at first, because that’s silent.

If that’s not doing the job and you need to “let her blow,” go ahead. That is, if you think one time will handle it and you can do it quickly and quietly enough that the people a few seats away from you won’t hear. If so, it’s less of a disruption to stay than to leave the room and return.

If you feel it’s going to be loud or that you’ll need to blow your nose several times, it’s best to leave the room.

The exception to all of this is at the dining table. You can wipe your nose at a dining table, but never blow it. Mucus and munching are an unpleasant combination.

Also, don’t use a napkin to wipe your nose. Use a tissue. If you don’t have one, say, “Excuse me. I’ll be back in a moment.” (No explanation is needed when an adult leaves the table, or room, to visit the facilities.) Blow your nose in the privacy of the bathroom, and bring a few tissues back to the table with you in case you need to wipe your nose later.

If you’re at church, the movies, or in a business meeting and you need to blow hard or loudly, or several times, you’re going to want to head out of the room. You don’t want to be remembered as “Mucus Mike or Milly.”

The thing about blowing your nose is that it doesn’t usually sneak up on you like a cough, sneeze, burp — or worse. We know before entering the room that our nose is stuffy or runny. So come prepared with tissues, and think about others as you choose your seat. Take a place near the exit door and on the aisle so you can enter and exit the room with the least amount of disruption.

If this question brought up additional ones about nose blowing, or has you wondering what to say and do if you or those near you sneeze, cough, burp — or something else — I have a blog post for you. It’s a fun read, and now’s the best time to read it. All of these things are going to happen to each of us. And it’s nice to be prepared in advance. When the time comes, we should know how to handle an embarrassing situation in the least embarrassing and most savvy way. Check out Bodily Noises…Oh My! Here’s also a quick post dealing just with burps.

And that was my “A” to your great “Q.” What did you think? Are you going to enjoy this Thursday Quick Q&A  feature?

Do You Have a Question?

If you have a question, send it my way via email at [email protected]. It could appear any Thursday! I’ll edit the question (if needed) to protect the person’s identity and for length and appropriateness (We’re family friendly!).

Thank you so much for being part of the family. I hope you’ll enjoy our Thursday Q & A! Until Thursday, keep doing what you were made to do, give the world the gift of you…at your best!

Hugs and blessings,

Maralee McKee's Signature



Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! To learn more about Maralee click on the "Meet Maralee" or "New? Start Here" links at the top of this page.


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